Updated: Aug 10
Everyone has goals. We want to lose weight, get fit, make more money, graduate from college, retire at an early age, buy a house, age gracefully, become a lawyer, the list goes on and on. These goals are the lofty ones. They aren’t accomplished quickly or overnight. They are the ones we spend hours thinking and dreaming about.
Goals require work and time but in the end are so worthwhile! Unfortunately, sometimes it can also feel like the harder we work the further away they move from us. We feel like we are spinning our wheels and going nowhere. It is when we are encountering those times that we need to stop and evaluate where we are.
Ask yourself, is this still the right goal for me?
This may be a very scary question, especially if you have spent a lot of time and energy working toward a goal. However, it is important that you are honest with yourself. It’s scary to admit that maybe this goal is no longer the right one for you. At the same time continuing to pursue something you are not 100% committed to is going to stop you from moving forward. It’s ok to realize that the goal you set out is no longer the one you want to pursue. Typically, this happens because somewhere along our path, we gained additional knowledge that has caused us to rethink that goal. Our initial goal may either need to be modified or completely changed in light of the new information. Changing or modifying the goal you set initially is not quitting, it is not a failure, it is an opportunity for growth and learning. Changing or modifying the goal is going to get you where you want to go and allow you to live a more meaningful life. Don’t be afraid to make those changes any time you need to!
Break it Down
Once you have recommitted to your goal, make sure you are breaking down your goal into smaller bite sized pieces. If you don’t, you are likely to feel overwhelmed. Making micro goals along the way is imperative and important to get you moving forward. I like to use the analogy of a marathon runner. No one goes from couch potato to marathon runner overnight. The marathon is the lofty goal but setting smaller goals: running 1 minute straight, running 1 mile, running a 5k, a 10k, allows the runner to celebrate smaller wins along the way and keeps them moving toward their ultimate goal.
Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. They should be:
Being specific when setting goals makes for the best outcomes! Studies show the more specific you are in defining the goal, the more apt you are to reach it. That is because there is no ambiguity, you have it all written out and broken down into smaller actions. Review your SMART goals often to make sure you are on track. However, don’t be afraid to modify the goals as you need do. As long as you are moving forward, you are headed in the right direction with specific timeframes which will help keep you moving toward your final goal.
Make sure your goal is quantifiable and trackable otherwise you will never know when you actually reach that goal. It may also stall your progress if there is no ability to determine when you have met the objective.
Any goal you set should come with some challenge but also be achievable. You don’t want to make an outlandish goal that leaves you feeling frustrated and deflated. Making your goals challenging but possible allows you to feel accomplished and proud of the hard work you put in to reach the goal and motivates you to continue to move forward.
Make your goal relevant to the main objective. This will assure that you are continuing to move forward to your ultimate goal. You can ask yourself “why is this result important to my main objective”. This will help you identify whether it aligns with the broader goal.
Always make sure you have a deadline associated with your goal. Without a timeframe for accomplishment, you can continue to pursue something forever. Setting a completion date increases the likelihood of you completing the task. It also allows you to move on to the next goal, keeping you moving forward.
Review your SMART goals often to make sure you are on track. However, don’t be afraid to modify the goals as you need to.
Remember your WHY
When things seem overwhelming, take a breath and think about why this goal is important to you and what the end result will mean. Taking a few minutes to close your eyes and imagine that you have reached the goal can recenter your thoughts and help you remember why you started in the first place.